Opening the Congress, H.E. Mgr Oscar Cantoni, Bishop in charge of the Vocations section of the CCEE Commission Youth, recalled the aims of the meeting in Tirana “everything is aimed at helping the educators of God’s people, and therefore all pastoral workers, in suggesting the most opportune ways so that all the ordinary pastoral care of the Church underlines the vocational dimension and offers useful criteria to accompany young people, all young people, in discerning their personal vocation”. We are aware – added Cantoni – “that a new and creative pastoral care is needed for young people to address the issue of vocational guidance and reach generous responses, in the certainty that the Lord provides today, within our secularized world, workers for the his Church and does not cease to call again young people to the priesthood and to the consecrated life”.
“In vocational pastoral care we do not start from scratch” – recalled the bishop of Como – “we have abundant magisterial indications, fruit of a rich shared experience, gained in the field, in the various countries of Europe, also in the light of the significant text, which we celebrate the twentieth anniversary: it is the document In Verbo tuo“.
But precisely because of the climate of secularism that we see today everywhere, “we experience a completely renewed cultural climate over the course of twenty years”. For Cantoni, “Youth mentality and sensitivity are completely new, thus requiring different and innovative vocational practices and strategies”.
Finally, the Italian bishop expressed the wish that “the Synod of Youth in the coming month of October will offer useful and secure guidelines for the whole Church, at the service of youth and vocation ministry”.
For its part, H.E. Mgr George Frendo OP, Archbishop of Tirana and President of the Albanian Episcopal Conference, recalled that a vocational ministry that works, “needs priests who show the world their happiness to serve the Lord in the priestly life” and have “courage to say a courageous word and to encourage young people, asking questions that will make them reflect on their future “.
Addressing the participants at the beginning of the works in substitution of H.E. Mgr Ottavio Vitale, President of the Commission for vocations of the CEA, H.E. Mgr Giovanni Peragine, Apostolic Administrator of Southern Albania, emphasized that speaking of service to vocations and to young people “means to look with hope at the future of the Church. To speak of vocations does not mean to speak only of the diminution of vocations, but rather of the beauty of the vocation” as “the pastoral care is always in function of man and of life “.
Other information (Programme, Photos…) will be available here.